Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago

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Loyola Phoenix Wins Top College Newspaper Award

CHICAGO, March 8, 2004 The most important thing Loyola University Chicago professor Lou Carlozo teaches his reporting and writing students, he said, is to have passion for their work. Without it, there is no drive to excel, no courage to take risks and experiment, no room for growth. There is only indifference.

Apparently, those of his students who work for Loyola’s student-run newspaper, The Phoenix, have learned well.

For the first time in five years, The Phoenix won this year’s Illinois College Press Association’s General Excellence award, as well as 20 individual awards, in its category. The Phoenix competed against 15 other non-daily newspapers at universities with 4,000 students or more. Judging was done by members of the Illinois Press Association, which asked for submissions published on or nearest to three dates selected by the IPA during the last calendar year.

“The fact that they took the general excellence award establishes The Phoenix as the best college newspaper in the state for a middle size school,” said ICPA Second Vice President Ron Wiginton, who coordinated this year’s contest. “This is the most coveted award given by the ICPA, and it speaks volumes about the quality of the newspaper. They’re good. They’re really very good.”

Carlozo does not require his students to work for the paper, though it is encouraged. Though staffers are paid – for up to 20 hours a week – it really is a labor of love considering staffers work far in excess of 20 hours, committing nearly that much time in the days leading up to the paper’s weekly deadline. It is not unusual to see Phoenix staff still racing the deadline clock at 7 in the morning following a full night’s – and day’s – work.

“In my class, the number one thing I try to teach is passion, and that’s the one thing The Phoenix staff seems to grasp intuitively well. They are just passionate about what they do, and that’s one of the reasons why the paper is such a success,” said Carlozo, faculty adviser for The Phoenix and a veteran staff editor and writer for the Chicago Tribune.

Although The Phoenix has performed consistently well in ICPA judging since 1998, the paper’s previous first-place finish in the annual competition, it has undergone a series of revisions by students in the past two years, including a complete overhaul of its design that now incorporates full color, a move to a completely digital desktop publishing environment, and greater emphasis on timely, in-depth news.

As a result of the redesign and restructuring, advertising revenue is at an all-time high and readership is expanding beyond the Loyola campuses to include parents, businesses and residents around the university and other Jesuit institutions. These changes, said Phoenix editor-in-chief Andrew Barbeau, have given the paper’s staff greater room to experiment and take chances to further improve the widely-read paper, all the while asking “how do we best serve our readers?”

The important thing, said Barbeau, has been to produce a professional caliber newspaper that would become a leading source of news for its readers, one that goes beyond the mere facts to inform readers how those facts impact their lives, as well as one that searches to compel readers with original graphics and photography.

Of the 20 individual awards, four were for first place in various categories, five were for second place, and five more were for third place. The paper also received six honorable mentions in individual categories. Also, four of the 20 awards were in open divisions, in which all newspapers competed regardless of the size of the school or whether it was a daily or non-daily newspaper. There were 12 categories that were in open divisions this year.

The first place winners were Barbeau for opinion pages design, an open division; April Otterberg, Nick Ziegler and Tuan Ngo for front page layout, Nick Ziegler for feature page design, and Cate Anevski for sports page design. Not only was the paper selected for best feature page design, it also came in second in the same category.

Barbeau, a senior, said he expects the paper to continue to do well. Overseeing a staff of 25 along with up to 40 writers, Barbeau noted that more students expressed an interest to write for the paper this academic year than he could ever recall. “We filled two big rooms at our open house in the beginning of the year; we had probably more than 150 students who expressed interest.” He attributed much of that interest to the growth of enrollment at Loyola in the last three years.

He also paid credit for the paper’s success to the faculty at Loyola who teach journalism courses, though Loyola has been without a journalism major; that is, until next fall. But he notes, those who work at The Phoenix are truly committed to the paper since there’s no requirement to work for it. The paper, he said, is their passion.

“I think we are excited about what we have accomplished right now, but the awards have always been secondary to our mission,” Barbeau said while pointing to the prestigious, national Pacemaker Award that the Phoenix won from the Associated Collegiate Press in the 1996-97 school year. “We work to make the best newspaper we can and are thankful for the recognition from the ICPA. Each staff member here has a reason to be here and that’s why it succeeds. We don’t have to tell people to work hard.”

About Loyola University Chicago

Committed to preparing people to lead extraordinary lives, Loyola University Chicago was founded in 1870 and is among the largest of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. Loyola has a total enrollment of more than 15,000 students, which includes 10,000 undergraduates hailing from all 50 states and 82 foreign countries. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy. Loyola also serves as the U.S. host university to the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies in Beijing, China. Loyola’s nine schools and colleges include arts and sciences, business administration, education, graduate studies, law, medicine, nursing, professional studies, and social work. Loyola offers 69 undergraduate majors, 77 master’s degrees, 36 doctoral degrees, and three professional degree programs. Recognizing Loyola’s excellence in education, U.S. News and World Report has ranked Loyola consistently among the “top national universities” in its annual publications. For more information, please visit our web site at www.luc.edu.

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